We are all familiar with the Television evolution. Tubes, projection, LCD, plasma, and currently flat screens. The water meter market has evolved in much the same way. We all remember the TV-VCR combo units. The TV would outlast the VCR and you would purchase another VCR or DVD to connect to the TV. VCRs were mechanical and needed cleaning and maintenance, based on how often they were used. The outgoing AMR/AMI water meter is made up of similar components. Register, radio, battery and mechanical measuring chamber. Register/radios are typically warranted similarly across the market. 20 years, 10 years 100% and 10 years prorated. Mechanical measuring chambers are mostly 5 years or 500,000 gallons. This is when the mechanical chamber, disk or piston wears to the point that the accuracy is compromised. The accuracy curve begins to head south. Corrosion, sediments and minerals all play a part in the water chemistry and how a mechanical meter wears. So I present to you the Flat Screen TV with Netflix AND Hulu of meters. Kamstrup eliminates these different elements of a water meter with a Solid State Meter with no moving parts to wear out, seize up, or break and no strainer to clean out. The ultrasonic technology is not effected, in any way, by the quality of the water chemistry and Kamstrup has no water quality disclaimers. We have also come to accept a failure rate of up to 5% and higher sometimes. Kamstrup meters are built by robots in a humidity controlled environment and have close to 0.04% failure rate…. I know, to good to be true, but it is! Kamstrup meters are not a ‘new’ product. They are just ‘new’ to the US market. Kamstrup has been manufacturing ultrasonic meters since 1991 and current design since 1997, making them the most proven ultrasonic meter with over 20 years of R&D. This is a HUGE savings of man power and shipping cost to exchange failed meters.
Accuracy, Flow Range and Non-Revenue Water
Kamstrup’s accuracy curve is… well a straight line! 20 years(life of the meter) guaranteed to be accurate. Starting and low flow is well below the mechanical measuring chambers(.25 GPM) ability at just .02 GPM. Temperature of the water is also logged and used to accurately register water. At this starting flow measurement, loss of revenue on the service side is nearly reduced to none. AWWA estimates that 10,000 gallons of water are lost to low flow leaks per service, per year. At a cost, on average, of 10 dollars per thousand gallons (potable and waste together), that is 100 dollars per service, or 8.34$ per month per service. This meter pays for itself in 2 years with 18 years of added revenue. Now any losses will be on the utilities side as leaks in the system.
Kamstrup meters have multiple alarms. Tamper, Leak, Dry and Reverse Flow. Tamper alarm is very useful. Kamstrup meters are solid state and single body design and very hard to tamper with in the first place. Sure you can place a tamper seal on the meter connecting the meter to the register to detect a tamper or even a special connector but, with AMR/AMI, the meters are seldom visited to inspect seals. The tamper alarm time stamps the event. Reverse flow is also very useful. The meter is ultrasonic so it is just as accurate at reverse flow as forward. The meter logs the event and how long the meter was in reverse flow along with the number of gallons measured during the reverse flow event. Dry meter alarm could indicate air in the system, removal of the meter for a period of time and would log the date and time and length that the meter was in a dry state.
Kamstrup Ultrasonic Advantage
The advantages of Kamstrup’s Ultrasonic meter over mechanical meters is very evident. The cost is comparable to other AMR/AMI electro-mechanical meters and higher than mechanical meters. However, if you look at the savings of installation, improved accuracy, event logging, lower flow detection, registration and data collection capability, you will see that Kamstrup meters are a lower cost of ownership and in many cases, increase revenue and decreased water loss. Also, the low cost of reading equipment is appealing to small communities and utilities. For less than a thousand dollars, you can purchase the READy converter, a radio to bluetooth device, with magnet mount antenna and use your Android phone or tablet to read meters.